by Alex Quarrie-Jones
There are movies that make you laugh, there are movies that make you cry, there are movies that make you jump and movies that just plain confuse you; Inception does all of this. Admittedly it may not be humour that you belt out laughter to, like Dodgeball, or the heart-wrenching moments in Up, but the combination of cinematic aspects added to an intriguing and original premise along with fantastic, compelling and stellar acting from a world cast and currently the best producer and director around ( in my opinion), Christopher Nolan, makes Inception my favourite movie of all time.
The basic premise, if you can call it ‘basic’, follows Dom Cobb (played superbly by Leonardo DiCaprio) who is a master at “extraction”, a form of corporate espionage which requires everyone involved to be in a state of dreaming, or “under” as it’s referred to in the movie. Once the mark is under, Cobb can then extract the necessary information from his or her subconscious and use it in whichever way. However Cobb is plagued by a projection, a subconscious figment of a person, of his ex-wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard). He is assisted by Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who functions primarily as a sidekick and the voice of reason for the majority of the movie. Cobb attempts to go in to hiding but is found by the mark of the failed extraction, Saito (Ken Watanabe), who offers Cobb an opportunity to go home if he performs “inception”, which is effectively the opposite of extraction; instead of taking ideas away, you plant them in the subconscious, via dreams. To undertake inception, Cobb recruits a team composed of Ariadne (Ellen Page), who serves as an architect for the dreams, Eames (Tom Hardy), who can metamorphose within the dreams and Yusuf (Dileep Rao), who creates sedatives and compounds to stabilise the subconscious states. Added this is Saito, who Eames refers to as “a tourist”, and the actual mark Fischer (Cillian Murphy), who is Saito’s main corporate competitor.
There are two key reasons why Inception is the best film I’ve ever seen; its subtle blend of different cinematic aspects, along with a totally credible and original idea and finally, its soundtrack, which was composed by the master of movie music, Hans Zimmer. Firstly Inception does what many other movies fail to do; it is technically indefinable when it comes to genre. This is not only because it includes aspects from different genres but because it delivers a cinematic experience that it is hard to compare to other movies, except of course to other Nolan movies. Rarely is there a movie that every human can relate to but Inception does this, for we all sleep and therefore we all dream. Every time dreaming is brought up the concepts that are talked about sound so plausible that you believe truly in these ideas. For example, the line “Dreams feel real when we’re in them, it’s only when we wake up that something actually seems strange” perfectly describes any dream we experience. In conclusion, Nolan is already very well known for his Dark Knight trilogy, but I would argue that he has another trilogy, of mind-bending but totally engaging films: Memento, The Prestige and, finally, the pinnacle, Inception. It serves as the greatest of the greats and demonstrates that the medium of cinema defiantly contains the potential for “genuine inspiration”.
This article was originally published in Portsmouth Point's 'Fight Club' issue, in July 2013.